The Nanaimo Buccaneers looked like a team that couldn’t wait to get Round 2 started.
The Bucs had a hot start against the Saanich Braves and parlayed that into a 5-2 victory in Game 1 of the VIJHL semifinals on Monday night at the Nanaimo Ice Centre.
The Buccaneers struck for three goals and a 3-0 lead after one period and maintained an edge the rest of the way.
Curtis Toneff, Buccaneers coach, said his team was keeping things simple and moving its feet in the first period, and got rewarded.
“For the most part I liked our game,” Toneff said. “For the most part we stayed on the right side of the puck tonight and that’s what we need to do to be successful.”
Mathieu Jallabert, who scored a hat trick, said his team isn’t consistent with its starts, so to skate to a fast lead in Game 1 was key.
“We really got on top of that and made sure that we came out hard, because Saanich is not an easy team to play against,” he said. “They’re going to be right with us this whole series. We’ve got to make sure we always have a good start to the game.”
Jallabert added an assist for a four-point game and Coleman Doney and Jayden Schubert were Nanaimo’s other scorers. Derek Krall had to make 36 saves for the win as the visitors outshot the home team 38-30.
For Saanich, Hayden Visscher and Dale McCabe scored and Riley Mathieson suffered the loss in goal with a 25-save effort.
GAME ON … Game 2 will be Wednesday, March 7 at 7:15 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. Game 3 is Saturday, March 10 at 6:30 p.m. at George Pearkes Arena and Game 4 is Monday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Pearkes Arena.